THIS IS US: “What Now?” {Roundtable}

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The title of this week’s episode of NBC’s This Is Us couldn’t have been any more appropriate. Following on from the death of William last episode and then the crossroads various members of the Pearson family were at by the end of the episode – which also happens to be the season’s penultimate episode – indeed left fans wondering,”What now?”. Join Ange and Melissa as they discuss the latest episode…

(Photo by: NBCUniversal)

Ange: After spending the last two weeks bawling my eyes out at TV shows (This Is Us and Nashville, I’m looking at you), it was a relief to come out of this latest episode dry-eyed! It was really nice that they turned William’s memorial into a FUN-eral organized by Tess and Annie, who are pretty much some of the most adorable kids on TV right now – in particular, Faith Herman who plays Annie. I just want to carry her in my pocket! Oh having M&Ms as the whole “don’t forget to take your pills” – cuties I tell you, absolute cuties!

Melissa: I was a watering pot through most of this episode. How precious that William asked the girls to plan his memorial. And boy, did they show how well they knew their Grandpa! Despite the short amount of time they had with him, they all connected in a very real way. Side note: Kate’s stress over her ONE JOB with the balloons was hilarious!

THIS IS US — “What Now?” Episode 117 — Pictured: Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Ange: Ha, that was great! And the look she gave Toby because they didn’t have all 50 balloons? So great! Anyway, this episode once again highlighted just how much of a team Beth and Randall are and the way they get what each other needs, like when Randall handed the toast over to Beth so that she could have more of a farewell to William. And while we had lovely moments like that, they also still maintain their banter. I think my favorite line/exchange from this latest ep was: “White doves?” “They don’t make black ones, Randall.” Ha! With Rebecca and Jack being on the rocks right now, these two are fast becoming my #couplegoals.

Melissa: Beth’s delivery of “they don’t make black ones” was perfect! I actually laughed out loud. And I love that Beth did get a personal goodbye from William. You know what’s great about this show? Nothing happens to one person. William’s death didn’t only happen to Randall, it happened to Annie and Tess, to the mailman, to Jessie (how amazing was that scene? I cried), to Sebastian who got off Vicodin thanks to William, to Beth. And because Rebecca, Kevin, and Kate love Randall, and Toby and Miguel love Kate and Rebecca, it happened to all of them as well. That’s a powerful but subtle message about the impact of one seemingly ordinary person.

Ange: Agreed! And yes the mailman and Jessie scenes gave me feels. Also feels – in this episode we saw Randall and Kevin put their loved ones first, in front of work. I was totally cheering at Randall’s speech when he quit because a basket of pears after all those years of loyalty? REALLY? Not to mention that was made even worse by the fact that Randall is allergic to pears. I can’t wait to see what Randall does next, but quite liked the metaphor of him taking a walk instead of running now thanks to William.

Melissa: I was OK with the basket of pears – not knowing Randall is allergic – but that generic card. Oof. Quitting his job was an obvious plot point, and one that was earned. From the first episode we’ve seen how that job demands so much more from Randall than he should be required to give. I thought the boss telling Randall to take some time off was a step toward a better work-life balance, but clearly that was superficial. Do you think Randall will start his own rival firm? If he brought in 80% of that firm’s clients, I think he could take some with him and set up shop.

Speaking of Kevin – he has a very tempting offer from Ron Howard dangling in front of him, after he just told Sophie that the real reason he returned to New York is to win her back. No rest for the weary, eh?

THIS IS US — “What Now?” Episode 117 — Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Alex Breckenridge as Sophie — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Ange: The thought of Randall starting up a rival firm never occurred to me. I was thinking he might go for a career change in the aftermath of William’s death but now that you’ve mentioned it, starting his own firm would be a big step for him outside the box and it’s certainly a logical possibility. In regards to Kevin, I’m definitely interested to see how this plays out in what he decides and how this will affect his relationship with Sophie. Going back to Randall and William for a sec, can we please talk about how great but also bittersweet it was to have that scene between William and Jack? Even though it was Randall’s dream, I totally think that the pair would have been great friends in real life.

Melissa: Agreed, if only through their love for Randall. That scene was lovely and cathartic. I cried.

Ange: I’m feeling bad that I did not shed any tears in this ep now and you were a watering pot, Mel!

THIS IS US — “What Now?” Episode 117 — Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Ange: Last but not least, the elephant in the room – Jack’s impending (to us viewers) death. In this latest episode, Kate revealed that it was her fault. (Side note, do you think Toby was a bit pushy in getting her to open up over Jack’s death or was he entitled to know more at this point of their relationship?) What’s your take on this? Do you think she blames herself because she pushed Jack to go make things right with Rebecca? And do we think Jack dies in an accident on his way to see or coming back from seeing Rebecca, or is that just the start of a domino effect? I’m not sure I’m ready for next week’s season finale!

Melissa: I think Toby was doing the right thing to push Kate into talking about Jack’s death. He wasn’t mean or overly forceful, and he’s coming at it from the angle of wanting to be authentic with each other. Her belief that she’s responsible for Jack’s death is a terrible burden, and I don’t believe it for a second. I read an interview with the producers on TVLine indicating that we probably won’t find out how/why Jack died until season 2. That’s fine with me, I’m not looking forward to that episode. I’d rather continue dealing with the aftermath while flashing back to when Jack and Rebecca were making everyone else jealous of their marriage. But…I think we’re in for some rocky times there. Please let them be on good terms when the inevitable occurs.

This is Us airs Tuesday 9/8c on NBC.

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Ange is the Girl from Oz who travelled the States. Teen dramas, rom-comedies and superhero shows are her weakness. She also loves a good crime and medical drama and probably watches more TV than she can handle... You can contact her at ange@nicegirlstv.com.